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The Winter Freak Show

(Twisted Christmas #1)

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  59 ratings  ·  29 reviews

After twelve-year-old Toby Carter escapes a brutal workhouse at Christmas, he can’t believe his good fortune. Adopted by a band of travelling performers called The Winter Freak Show who put on spellbinding shows each night, he finally believes he’s found the famil
Published December 4th 2018 by Daniel Parsons (first published November 29th 2013)
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Average rating 4.34  · 
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 ·  59 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Clare O'Beara
This is a lively, fast moving novella about an orphan in Victorian London, a circus show, a version of Father Christmas and a child abductor. What a mix! Have fun.

The book won't take you long to read and a young person could learn some good vocabulary, but it is suitable for amused adults as well.

I availed of a free download opportunity. This is an unbiased review.
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone aged 10+ - it really IS that good!
I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I downloaded this but, as always, I started reading with an open mind...and couldn't stop! I devoured it in an hour, then wished I'd read it slower to enjoy it longer - it really is THAT good. Although obviously written for children (from the subject matter I would guess 10+), the story is strong enough and so wonderfully written it will engage teens, older adults and absolutely everyone in between. I eagerly await the release of the second in the trilogy!
Kelly Schnorrbusch
This was such a cute book. I am eagerly awaiting the second installment. Toby is an orphan who escapes a boy's workhouse in Victorian London and finds himself saved from near death by a traveling show called The Winter Freak Show. Their leader is Nicko, a kindly grandfatherly type with a serious Santa vibe. The show allows Toby to work with their show, helping out behind the scenes. The so-called freaks are actually magical elves who perform acrobatics and swordplay, among others antics. But it ...more
The Winter Freak Show by Daniel Parsons is the first in his Twisted Christmas series. This is a children's fantasy novel set in Victorian London and has a nice touch of Dickens in it. It is written in third-person and is from twelve-year-old Toby Carter's point-of-view. It is well-written, with fascinating characters, and an interesting plot.

This was a fun read that kept me interested from beginning to end. It is a very nice start to a new trilogy, I can't wait for more.

Recommended to: fans of f
DMG Byrnes
The story line was vaguely interesting. The first page or two pulled me in, but by the end I was only vaguely curious about the ending. There's an unfortunate leaning towards long, over the top speeches from multiple characters and some dialogue that was a bit too simple for my preference.
Steph Warren
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*I received free ARCS of these books. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

I’m reviewing The Winter Freak Show and its sequel, Face of a Traitor, together, as I read them together.

They are both quite short novels and quick easy reads, classed as children’s books on Amazon. I think they would be perfect for children who enjoy books like the Harry Potter series and Joan Aiken’s Wolves Chronicles. Much like those classic series, we have here a child protagonist cruelly treated by the
David Caldwell
Toby escapes a workhouse/orphanage. He is taken in by a travelling circus called the Winter Freak Show. He sees many wondrous things there by kows it still has even more secrets. With someone stealing children from the London streets, Toby fears the show could even be hiding a madman. With Christmas hanging in the balance, he sets out on a dangerous mission to discover the truth.

I enjoyed the author's take on Christmas and how myth and folklore combined. This story is aimed at a younger audience
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a lovely book, I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I started to read it, it started off as a Charles Dickens type story of a boy in the workhouse, but then it gradually evolved into a magical Christmas story, and was a real joy to read.
I suppose that this was originally intended to be a children's story, but as an adult into my 7th decade I thought that it was great, the characters are wonderful and really well written, and the plot has a great mystery in it as well, which has a grea
Judith A Johnson
Interesting way to introduce St. Nick

This story is outside the norm. A runaway orphan, freaky circus, elves and Nicko the master of ceremonies. Missing children and a tangled web not the usual Christmas tale but one I would definitely share with my grandchildren. It gives more insight into poverty even though it's placed in the past. This could very easily be updated to the present with so many children naughty and nice lol or hungry for the lack of food or running away from abuse looking for s
Mererid Evanna
When kidnappings are mentioned in the first sentence, one cannot help but feel a chill of apprehension when the workhouse runaway joins a seemingly benign group of performers – is this going to be another case of Fagin and his sinister cohorts? There are plenty of surprises in this children’s adventure set in a fantasy London, both chilling and heartwarming.

The historical inconsistencies made me uneasy at times, and the infamous naughty-and-nice list (which I do NOT believe in!) plays a big par
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A workhouse orphan flees in the night, but Toby is saved from a frozen death by a magician. Nicko introduces him to illusions of flying reindeer and magical acrobatic elves as a child napper haunts London. As Toby learns to create his own illusions, the show delights young and old, increasing eleven magic and illusion take on reality. I was enchanted by this delightful tale.
Jan 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Winter Freak Show is an fun, creatively written story. I liked the characters and the new twist on an old idea. There were some issues with the flow of the story and redundancy (Toby realizes who the real bad guy is, and then realizes it again later). Much of the story felt rushed, and I wish more attention had been given to character development rather than reaching the climax.
Greg Dixon
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The winter break show the twisted Christmas trilogy 1

A good read for people who are in to the series recommend highly can't wait for the next one of the series a really enjoyable read but quick shaping up to be a enjoyable series must read the next one of the series
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great story!

When this book reached the top of my reading list, I couldn't stop reading it until I finished it. I loved the main character Toby and wanted to read more about him. Again wonderful book.
PJ Lea
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

What a wonderful, magical story! It embodies the spirit of Christmas and I enjoyed every single word. The depiction of Victorian London was gripping.
Ann Keeran
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Magical, mysterious and a fascinating view of Christmas. Adults and children alike will enjoy The Winter Freak Show.
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Creates a wonderful world you sink into with ease and adorable characters that you get attached too. It’s beautifully written and I definitely recommend this to everyone.
Holly Decker
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Santa reimagined

This book is a fun retelling of the story of Santa. It would be great for a elementary or middle schooler who wants to read something different for Christmas.
Dec 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick read, probably good for kids 8-10 years old. Not a whole lot of character development. Seems to take place in the Victorian era but isn't overtly so. I found it to be just okay.
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lively, fast-moving novella with a different spin about Christmas & Santa Claus ...more
sandra parker
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good read

Couldn't stop reading till I finished this book,well written and really good plot very ingenious way to show another way for father Christmas.
John Duhon
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Funny suspenseful and riveting

One of those books that you just happened to find. Not expecting much, but was proven blissfully wrong. After an interesting start (hint it's about Christmas) where a boy is saved from certain death after escaping a work house that same day, our hero wakes up in a strange place. Non stop action follows. I had trouble setting it down to get some sleep.
Mar 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I saw this book on my twitter via the author, and I decided that I just had to look into his books, and I am glad I did I totally loved this short story I made the purchase online for my kindle.

The story was a Christmas tale with a dark but magical twist which I thought was great because it wasn't a typical Christmas story it was a fresh idea, the era it was set is my favourite so any story that is set in Victorian time is an instant win for me. I wanted the story to keep going I didn't want it
Grey Liliy
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had myself a little Christmas in June~

The Winter Freak Show was a fun, dark little Christmas adventure. Little Toby who has just freed himself from a work house, finds himself caught up in The Winter Freak Show: A circus full of young children who the plump, red-suited headmaster calls "Elves" and all sorts of magic. Life is good for Toby, until he makes a connection between missing children in town and the Freak Show.

Is the Freak Show the wonderful new home he's been waiting for, or was it hi
Bonnie Dale Keck
not kindle unlimited, got it on a freebie day from one of my sites, don't remember if freebooksy or bookbub or instafreebie, but think have read most of all of his so wanted to get this one in, hopefully review will take this time, for some reason couple of days amazon only letting me do stars not text, then of course the review didn't show up, assume glitch fixed since gave me the text space this time -- have read his necroville, and think there is sequel {horrible at names and titles though} a ...more
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was written for children, but even as an adult I found it thoroughly amusing and entertaining. The story is very unique, and the characters really bring the action to life, keeping you engaged from beginning to end. I read the whole book in one sitting and really loved it, and I wouldn't hesitate in recommending it to anyone from older children upwards - if you love adventures, magic, and a happy ever after ending, this is a book for you!
I also listened to the audiobook version of the
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children or parents
An enchanting Victorian children's adventure set at Christmas. Toby escapes the workhouse and joins a travelling carnival staffed by children. Then he finds his new home may be no safer than his old... Engaging, fun, and hard to put down, this christmas story is great for children of any age and at any time of the year.

It's well-paced, and I never lost interest as the plot progressed. OK, I spotted the twist, but I'm a bit older than the target audience and I still loved this book.
Steve Beaulieu
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite the need for editing it's a pretty good tale. I look forward to reading it to my children when they are a bit older.
Emily Wrayburn
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebook, fiction
Maybe I'm a bit old for this one? The writing style was pretty basic; there was a fair bit of telling rather than showing and I never really felt deeply about the characters...
Leslie Wiederspan
rated it really liked it
Oct 27, 2017
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Other books in the series

Twisted Christmas (3 books)
  • Face of a Traitor (Twisted Christmas #2)
  • The Wrath of Oberon (Twisted Christmas #3)

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